“To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone,” said Pope Francis. This has always been a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. How can I be like some of the holiest people that have ever lived?
How can I like Saint Martin de Porres who nursed the sick and cared for the poor, specifically those who were orphaned and those who were enslaved, to fight for racial justice and equity?
How can I be like Saint Oscar Romero who fearlessly defended human rights when El Salvador was on the brink of civil war and dedicated his life to uplifting the poor and vulnerable?
How can I be like Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman who inspired the Ignatian family with her prophetic resilience and commitment to using the rich African American cultural and spiritual tradition of song, preaching, and prayer to dismantle racial and cultural barriers?
Sometimes I feel small in comparison to these holy trailblazers who embody the idea of a faith that does justice. But, we must remember that saints are people too—people that we can be.
I reflect on the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who, obsessed with riches and fame, lived a life of privilege before responding to God’s call. However, he experienced a drastic change of heart after reading a book about—none other than—the saints! By following the example of the saints, Ignatius was able to join them, and we are called to do the same.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us how we can live out our vocation of sainthood with the Beatitudes. Among other things, Jesus calls us to work for peace and justice—to chase our hunger and thirst for righteousness, despite persecution from others.
With one more day until the election, one way we can live out the Beatitudes is by exercising our right to vote, specifically for candidates whose practices and policies will protect and uplift the most vulnerable members of society. Those unable to vote can also participate by boosting voter participation, working at the polls, donating to campaigns or raising awareness for the issues that matter to you.
This year’s election provides us with a unique opportunity to answer God’s call to holiness and sainthood.
Josie Schuman is a former ISN intern and graduate of John Carroll University. She is currently a member of the Urban Catholic Teacher Corp at Boston College, pursuing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction while teaching 5th grade English. Josie is passionate about faith-based antiracist education and hopes to inspire students of color to use reading and writing as tool for social change.